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  1. #1

    Default "Parents who kill their kids..."

    Certainly interesting research in this one. You might want to read the article in full, as it has examples of real cases and other info I snipped for copyright purposes, but much of it is relative to this case discussion:

    Parents who kill their kids not always insane, expert says

    By Electa Draper

    The Denver Post

    POSTED: 05/27/2011 01:00:00 AM MDT
    UPDATED: 05/27/2011 08:18:15 AM MDT

    People tend to believe that any parent who kills a child — especially a mother — must be crazy, but a leading expert on the crime says it isn't true.

    "The view that parents who deliberately kill their children are 'mad or bad' is too simple," said Dr. Phillip Resnick, director of forensic psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

    Mental illness is a big factor, he said, but so is desperation.


    Researchers estimate 250 to 300 children are murdered by their parents each year in the U.S.

    "Historically, one out of 33 homicides is a parent killing a child younger than 18," Resnick said.

    Five types of filicide

    Filicide, the deliberate act of a parent killing his or her own child, is the third-leading cause of death in American children ages 5 to 14, Resnick found in a 2005 study.

    Those bleak statistics are echoed in FBI Uniform Crime Reports indicating the murder of sons and daughters accounted for 3.1 percent of the 90,869 homicides in the U.S. from 1995 through 2000.

    In a 40-year career, Resnick said, he has identified five main types of filicide, which vary according to parent gender.

    The first is "altruism." When severe stress, depression, mental illness or claim of mental illness is involved in a case, a mother likely will explain her motive was unselfish — the child was killed to prevent suffering.

    "The woman is still trying to be a good mother but no longer knows what to do," Resnick said.

    While only one of 23 suicide attempts is successful in the U.S., Resnick said, one-fourth of women who kill their children also kill themselves.

    A woman often sees the child as an extension of herself, Resnick said, and the line between a mother's suicide and the murder of her child can be blurred.

    "But it's harder to kill yourself than your children," Resnick said.

    A second circumstance of filicide is an acutely psychotic parent who has lost touch with reality.


    The third type of filicide involves fatal battering. Resnick said this accounts for 80 percent of homicides of children younger than 1.

    A fourth type of filicide is that a parent doesn't want the child or feels incapable of caring for it. Some believe the child is endangering or preventing another, more valued relationship. Other parents are unprepared and overwhelmed by the needs of a baby.

    "You were more likely to be killed by your parents on the day you were born than any other day," Resnick said.

    "The child was unwanted" is the motive given in 85 percent of homicides of newborns, Resnick said.


    Revenge against spouse

    A fifth type is revenge against a spouse for infidelity or other perceived failing. Custody disputes sometimes trigger killings.

    Researchers find that men who kill often feel they have lost control of their finances, families and relationships. They often kill in retaliation for something their wives or lovers have done.

    Homicide is the leading cause of death in children 4 and younger. Of children murdered before the age of 5, 61 percent were killed by parents, Resnick found.

    Friends of the family killed 30 percent of the children, according to a 1999 U.S. Department of Justice study. Other family members killed about 8 percent of the victims.

    Filicides are hands-on murders. A 1988 Justice Department study found that while 61 percent of murder defendants used a gun, only 20 percent of parents who killed children used one. Children are beaten, shaken, drowned, smothered, poisoned and stabbed.

    The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports that women are likely to dispose of their children's bodies in ways suggestive of returning them to the womb — swaddled in blankets, wrapped in plastic, submerged in water.

    Women, who committed only 13 percent of all violent crimes in the U.S. from 1995 to 2000, committed about half of all filicides, according to the FBI crime statistics.


    However, the Colorado Child Fatality Prevention System 2010 Annual Report included a comprehensive review of the 82 child homicides that occurred between 2004 and 2006.

    They found that eight of the deaths were murder-suicide cases in which an adult killed one or more children and then committed suicide.

    Most homicides, 59.8 percent, occurred among children under age 5. The perpetrator was the child's primary caregiver in 56.1 percent of the cases.


    "University of Colorado Law Professor Paul Campos declared the letter a 'reckless exoneration.' He went on to state, 'Everyone knows that relative immunity from criminal conviction is something money can buy.
    Apparently another thing it can buy is an apology for even being suspected of a crime you probably already would have been convicted of committing if you happened to be poor.'"
    FF: WRKJB?

    Bloomies underwear model:
    3 Dimensional

    My opinions, nothing more.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2003


    Thank you for posting this interesting article KK. I am a bit taken aback by the high numbers of children killed per year by their parents in the U.S. Frightening! One has to wonder about the rest of the world(?).
    elle: The RST can't handle the truth!
    Just my opinion.

  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by koldkase View Post
    The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports that women are likely to dispose of their children's bodies in ways suggestive of returning them to the womb — swaddled in blankets, wrapped in plastic, submerged in water
    Thanks for that, KK. At WS I started a thread on “undoing” a while back and that would have fit in rather nicely.

    This is from my thread on “undoing” at WS:

    While it may be argued that certain actions were driven by the need to eliminate or, at least, reduce evidence, I believe that what profilers have characterized as “undoing” was evident in at least the following aspects of the crime scene.
    Cleaning (Pelvic area wiped down)
    Covering (Wrapped in a blanket)
    Comforting (Nightgown, doll)
    Redressing (New (oversized) underwear, long johns pulled up)

    (The crime also included several elements of staging.)
    • What is undoing?
    Another concept sometimes encountered in crime scene analysis is undoing. Undoing is a behavioral pattern found at the scene in which the offender tried to psychologically “undo” the crime. For example, a distraught or emotionally upset offender, who kills the victim, may try to undo his or her actions by placing the body in bed, gently placing the head on a pillow, and neatly covering the body with blankets. Or he or she may place the victim upright in a chair, trying desperately to return the victim to a natural-looking state.Introduction to Forensic Psychology: Research and Application, Curt R. Bartol, Anne M. Bartol, page 87

    Undoing represents a form of personation with more obvious meaning. Undoing frequently occurs at the crime scene when there is close association between the offender and the victim or when the victim represents someone of significance to the offender.
    The following case exemplifies undoing. A son stabbed his mother to death during a fierce argument. After calming down, the son realized the full impact of his actions. First, he changed the victim’s bloodied shirt and then placed her body on the couch with her head on a pillow. He covered her with a blanket and folded her hands over her chest so she appeared to be sleeping peacefully. This behavior indicated his remorse by attempting to emotionally undo the murder. Other forms of undoing may include the offender’s washing up, cleaning the body, covering the victim’s face, or completely covering the body. The offender engages in these activities not because he is attempting to hide the victim but because he may be feeling some degree of remorse.

    • What is staging?
    Staging is when someone purposely alters the crime scene prior to the arrival of police. there are two reasons why someone employs staging, to redirect the investigation away from the most logical suspect or to protect the victim's or victim's family.
    When a crime is staged, the responsible person is not someone who just happens upon the victim. It is usually someone who had some kind of association or relationship whth the victim. This offender will further attempt to steer the investigation away from him by his conduct when in contact with law enforcement. Thus, investigators should never eliminate a suspect solely on the grounds of that person’s overly cooperative or distraught behavior.
    A double homicide case that received national publicity involved Susan Smith, the mother of Alex and Michael, who purposely let her car, with her two small sons inside, roll into Joh D. Long Lake in Union, South Carolina. Smith first went to a nearby home where she banged on the door, screaming, “He’s got my kids and he’s got my car. A black man has got my kids and my car.” The home owners called 911. Smith told police that she was stopped at a red light when a black man jumped in her car and told her to drive. Eventually Smith said the man told her to her out of the car and he proceeded to drive off with her children.
    Smith attempted to steer the investigation away from her by creating a false scenario to detract police. She was interviewed on many occasions, and police began to catch the inconsistencies in her story. In addition, the manner in which she spoke of her children’s disappearances made police question her as a potential suspect. During numerous interviews . Smith spoke about her sons in the past tense; at one point she said, “No man would ever make me hurt my children.” This statement told police that she believed her children were not alive. Police began to focus the investigation on Smith, who ultimately confessed during an interview with an investigator.
    The second reason for staging is to protect the victim's family and is employed most frequently with rape-murder crimes or autoerotic fatalities. The offender of a sexual homicide frequently leaves the victim in a degrading position.
    One can hardly fault a family member’s protective staging behavior , but the investigator needs to obtain an accurate description of the body’s condition when found and exactly what that person did to alter the crime scene.
    This type of staging is also prevalent with autoerotic fatalities. The victim may be removed from the apparatus that caused death (for example, cut down from a noose or device suspending the body). In many cases, the victim wears a mask or costume. The costume often involves cross-dressing, so not only does the person discovering the body have to endure the shock of finding the victim dead, but also the shock of finding the victim in female dress. To prevent further damage to the victim’s or family’s reputation or to protect other family members , the person discovering the body may redress the victim in men’s clothing or dress the nude body. He or she will often stage the accident to look like a suicide, perhaps writing a suicide note. This person may even go as far as staging the scene to appear as a homicide. Nevertheless, scrutiny of forensics, crime scene dynamics, and victimology probably will reveal the true circumstances surrounding death. Evidence of previous autoerotic activities (bondage literature, adult “toys,” eyebolts in the ceiling, worn spots from rope on beams) in the victim’s home also will help determine if an autoerotic activity caused death.
    Finally, the investigator should discern whether a crime scene is truly disorganized or whether the offender staged it to appear careless and haphazard. This determination not only helps direct the analysis to the underlying motive but also helps to shape the offender profile. However, the recognition of staging especially with a shrewd offender can be difficult. The investigator must scrutinize all factors of the crime if there is reason to believe it has been staged. Forensics, victimology and minute crime scene details become critical to the detection of staging.

    • More on staging and undoing:
    Crime Scene Red Flags
    An offender who stages a crime scene usually makes mistakes because he stages it to look the way he thinks a crime scene should look. While doing this, the offender experiences a great deal of stress and don’t not have time to fit all the pieces together logically. Inconsistencies will begin appearing at the crime scene with forensics and with the overall picture of the offense. These contradictions will often serve as the red flags of staging and prevent misguidance of the investigation.

    Investigators often will find forensic discrepancies when a subject stages a rape/murder. The offender frequently positions the victim to imply sexual assault has occurred. an offender who has a close relationship with the victim will often only partially remove the victim’s clothing (for example, pants pulled down, shirt or dress pulled up). He rarely leaves the victim nude.

    With a staged sexual assault, there is usually no evidence of any sexual activity and an absence of seminal fluids in the body orifices.
    An investigator who suspects a staged crime scene should look for other signs of close offender association with the victim, such as washing up or any other indications of undoing.
    Crime Classification Manual, John Douglas, Robert Ressler, pages 32 - 39

    Spontaneous Domestic Homicide:
    The crime scene reflects disorder and the impetuous nature of the killing. The weapon will be one of opportunity, often obtained and left at the scene. There is no forced entry and no sign of theft. The crime scene may also reflect an escalation of violence – for example, the confrontation starts as an argument, intensifies into hitting or throwing things, and culminates in the victim’s death.
    There are often indicators of undoing. This is the killer’s way of expressing remorse or the desire to undo the murder. Undoing is demonstrated by the offender’s washing of the victim and the weapon. The body may be covered up, but it is not for concealment purposes. Washing or redressing the body, moving the body from the death scene, and positioning it on a sofa or bed with the head on a pillow are all expressions of undoing.
    The attitude and emotional state of the family members present at the crime scene can offer insight into the victim-offender relationship The offender is often at the scene when law enforcement of emergency medical personnel arrive and often makes incriminating statements.

    Crime Classification Manual, John Douglas, Robert Ressler, pages 155 - 156

    John Douglas: When parents kill, there’s generally a softening of the crime scene. Where they take a blanket, cover up the child, roll the child over, face down or something like that…

    If a child’s body is found, there’s a very good chance we’ll figure out who did it. Parents aren’t usually as detached about disposing of their children’s bodies as strangers are – they may wrap the body in plastic and bury it someplace significant to them. If they feel remorse over the murder, they may try to lead investigators in the right direction so the body wil be found and buried in a proper ceremony.
    Journey Into Darkness, John Douglas, page 148

    "The child was found buried in the woods in his snowsuit, wrapped in a blanket, then completely covered with a thick plastic bag. A kidnapper or child molester would not have taken this much care to make him warm and "comfortable," or to try to shelter the body from the elements. While many murder scenes show obvious and prolonged rage, and dump sites often show contempt and hostility, the hallmarks of this burial were love and guilt."
    Mindhunter, John Douglas, page 287

    Eventually the mother confirmed the profilers’ estimate of what had happened, and admitted to having killed her own child and trying to cover up the crime with a mock kidnapping. She took the police to the site where the body had been left. Here there was no evidence of staging at all, with the little girl buried deep in secluded woodland, wrapped in thick warm garments and a blanket, and covered with a bag to deter predators. Had the body been found for any other reason, the care taken over the disposal of the child’s remains would have tended to focus attention on the mother, for the combination of love and guilt shown so clearly, rather than the indifference to be expected from real kidnappers.
    Profiling, the psychology of catching killers, David Owen, page 89

    • Now that we know what undoing is, do we see it in the JonBenet case?
    Earlier, when White had opened that same door, he had been unable to see anything in the stygian darkness. John Ramsey was kneeling beside his daughter, feeling her ashen face. A piece of black duct tape lay on the blanket, and a long cord was attached to her right wrist. Nearby was a pink nightgown. White, who had never before touched a dead person, felt JonBenét’s cold ankle, turned, and ran for help. John Ramsey picked up his daughter, who had been carefully wrapped, papoose-like, in a white blanket, and followed.
    JonBenet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation, Steve Thomas, page 29

    LOU SMIT: Again, you had mentioned the fact that the blanket had been wrapped around her almost like, what did you describe it as?
    JOHN RAMSEY: Well, she looked very, like someone had very carefully placed her on the blanket, wrapped the blanket around her to keep her warm.

    John Ramsey interview, June 1998

    MIKE KANE: All right. Okay. Now, when you went inside to that room, you described the blanket. And you said it was folded like -- I'm just trying to get a mental picture of it. Was it
    like –
    RAMSEY: It was like an Indian papoose.

    MIKE KANE: Okay.
    JOHN RAMSEY: You know, the blanket was under her completely. It was brought up and folded over like that.
    MIKE KANE: Folded over, okay.

    John Ramsey interview, August 2000, Atlanta

    Q. JonBenet was found wearing the Wednesday Bloomi's underpants, and your understanding is correct, that is a fact, you can accept that as a fact, when she was found murdered. Those underpants do not fit her. Were you aware of that?
    MR. WOOD: Are you stating that as a matter of fact --
    MR. LEVIN: I'm stating that as a matter --
    MR. WOOD: - for a six-year-old child?
    MR. LEVIN: I am stating that as a matter of fact.

    Q. (By Mr. Kane) Okay. Were you aware that these were the size of panties that she was wearing, and this has been publicized, it is out in the open, that they were size 12 to 14? Were you aware of that?
    A. I have become aware of that, yes.

    Patsy Ramsey interview, August 2000, Atlanta

    PATSY RAMSEY: Yeah; right. What I'm saying, I'm -- I remember a Barbie nightgown with a picture, big picture of the head of Barbie on it. So I am not quite sure this is her -- you know, one that she had.
    TOM HANEY: Okay. You know, it appears –
    PATSY RAMSEY: That is a Barbie doll under there.

    Patsy Ramsey interview, June 1998

    In the wine cellar, Everett discovered on the white blanket the piece of tape Fleet White had handled. Next to the blanket was a child-size pink nightgown with the word Barbie embossed on it.
    Perfect Murder, Perfect Town, Lawrence Schiller, page 21

    Lee suggested that the cellar room in which the body was found was not necessarily the location of the primary attack. He also wondered about the presence of the pink nightgown discovered near the victim. A kidnapper, he ventured, probably would not bring a victim’s favorite piece of clothing along with a dead body.
    JonBenet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation, Steve Thomas, page 166

    On the other hand, the killer cared about the victim and wanted her found. He or she didn’t want JonBenét outside in the dead of winter in the middle of the night. The child had been wrapped in a white blanket, her Barbie nightgown found lying next to her. Such caring and solicitude were not usually associated with a malevolent criminal.
    Perfect Murder, Perfect Town, Lawrence Schiller, page 498

    The FBI profile said that parents typically found it harder to dispose of a child’s body than an intruder would. Listening to the presentation, one investigator theorized that the nightgown might have been bundled up together with the blanket, a gesture not unlike burying the child with her favorite stuffed animal.
    Perfect Murder, Perfect Town, Lawrence Schiller, page 662

    The coroner told the police that the blood smears on the skin and the fibers found in the folds of the labia indicated that the child’s pubic area had been wiped with a cloth. The blood smears also contained traces of fibers.Perfect Murder, Perfect Town, Lawrence Schiller, page 57

    Since the autopsy, the police had thought there was semen on JonBenét’s upper thighs. Then, on January 15, the CBI came back with the analysis. The substance thought to be semen was in fact smeared blood. There was no semen. JonBenét’s body had been wiped clean, leaving a residue that was visible under the flourescent light at the autopsy.
    Perfect Murder, Perfect Town, Lawrence Schiller, page 172

    It appeared that the vaginal area had been wiped, and small dark fibers were collected from her pubic region.
    JonBenet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation, Steve Thomas, page 46

    Ressler said he doesn't believe the killer intended to kill the child and feels great remorse about the death. The wiping is a further indication that the killer is not a serial killer or a "career" child molester or predator, Ressler said last night.

  4. #4


    Excellent, cynic.

    I've seen many Ramsey supporters and Team Ramsey argue there was no "caring" for the body, because the blanket wasn't covering her head to toe. I've even seen John Douglas make that argument, more or less, after being hired by the Ramsey lawyers and talking to JOHN ONLY for a couple of hours, having seen no evidence from the actual case files, etc., but only what Team Ramsey presented to him as evidence at the time--mere weeks after the murder. Amazing what money can do to change a man's mind about what he's written in a series of books about his life's work, isn't it?

    But it's ludicrous to think some vicious stranger came into the home, ready to bring some kind of vengeance on John Ramsey, as Douglas eventually argued, yet spent the time and effort to care for the child's body after brutally murdering her. Nonsense. I've never had any respect for Douglas after he sold his soul to Team Ramsey so fast and so cheaply.

    And not one person on Team Ramsey has EVER been able to reasonably address or explain the actual autopsy evidence of prior molestation and how that played into this murder. Nor will they ever, because it is THE SMOKING GUN.

    Thanks for sharing this info here, cynic. Well done.

    "University of Colorado Law Professor Paul Campos declared the letter a 'reckless exoneration.' He went on to state, 'Everyone knows that relative immunity from criminal conviction is something money can buy.
    Apparently another thing it can buy is an apology for even being suspected of a crime you probably already would have been convicted of committing if you happened to be poor.'"
    FF: WRKJB?

    Bloomies underwear model:
    3 Dimensional

    My opinions, nothing more.

  5. #5


    Bumping this thread for any readers who might come here after the excellent blog radio discussion. There are two articles on this thread and a detailed post by Cynic with his references relating to some issues brought up in the broadcast.

    "University of Colorado Law Professor Paul Campos declared the letter a 'reckless exoneration.' He went on to state, 'Everyone knows that relative immunity from criminal conviction is something money can buy.
    Apparently another thing it can buy is an apology for even being suspected of a crime you probably already would have been convicted of committing if you happened to be poor.'"
    FF: WRKJB?

    Bloomies underwear model:
    3 Dimensional

    My opinions, nothing more.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Southern Silicon Valley !!


    Thank you, Cynic for that post.
    "When are we going to get our heads out of the sand and understand that sometimes really nice people who look good on the outside are dastardly on the inside." Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, MA

  7. #7


    When I was looking at the blog site of Dr. Lillian Glass in preparation for the show, I ran across this rather disturbing drawing which was on Casey Anthony’s computer.
    There were some elements of softening or undoing in this case as well:
    Inside the bag along with Caylee’s body was a toy bear, the child’s Winnie the pooh blanket and the residue of a heart-shaped sticker on the duct tape over Caylee’s face

    “Why do people kill people, who kill people, to show people that to kill people is bad?”
    From http://drlillianglassbodylanguageblo...-and-her-bear/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    In the Federal Witness Protection Program


    What so many people do not realize is that people don't kill people who kill people to show that killing is bad. They kill people who kill people to stop the killer from killing anyone else.
    The death penalty should never be intended to be a deterrent to others who may kill. It has never and never will stop anyone else from killing someone. But what the death penalty does, and does with 100% effectiveness, of stop that killer from killing again.
    This is my Constitutionally protected OPINION. Please do not copy or take it anywhere else.

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